Nokia's first Windows Phone devices could hit store shelves with the names Sabre and Sea Ray (also spelled as "Searay").
That rumor comes courtesy of Microsoft Canada, which is hosting a Mango App Challenge. At the moment, the Website lists the prize for developing two quality apps for the Windows Phone platform as "a new Windows Phone 7.5, the most technologically advanced phone on the market." The code name for Windows Phone 7.5 is "Mango," and it features some 500 new tweaks and additions.
According to Websites such as Tom's Guide, however, Microsoft Canada's prize description included this bit of text: "The type of Windows 7.5 will vary and will be selected at Microsoft's choosing (examples include Samsung Yukon, Samsung Wembley, NOKIA Searay and NOKIA Sabre)."
Meanwhile, WPCentral posted Oct. 1 an ad from T-Mobile Germany, promoting the "new Nokia Searay" with "Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)" and "brilliant 3.7 AMOLED [active-matrix organic LED] curved display."
Over the summer, Nokia CEO (and former Microsoft executive) Stephen Elop flashed a prototype smartphone running Windows Phone during a press conference. A number of people in the audience snapped some spy photos and video of the device, which looked like a Nokia N9 smartphone modified for Microsoft's smartphone platform.
Nokia's internal code name for its Microsoft smartphone was reportedly "Sea Ray," and it seems a little odd that would carry over to the final product. The N9 features a 3.9-inch AMOLED screen, curved to facilitate gesture control and married to a body engineered from a single piece of polycarbonate. Other on-board hardware includes near-field communication (NFC) technology, which allows users to share photos and even financial data by tapping their smartphone against another NFC-enabled device.
Although both Nokia and Microsoft tout their Windows Phone collaboration as a game-changer, the Finnish phone maker is still wrestling with the fallout from abandoning its homegrown operating systems in favor of Microsoft's platform. "We would continue to avoid the stock as Symbian smartphone sales are falling off faster than expected and we are skeptical that new Windows Phone (WP) models will be able to replace lost profits," Stephen Patel, an analyst with Gleacher & Co., wrote in a May 31 research note. "Our checks suggest mixed carrier support for Nokia's transition to WP."
However, there's nothing more dangerous than a wounded lion-and having placed an all-or-nothing bet on Windows Phone as its way forward, Nokia has little choice but to throw every ounce of its technological and marketing capital behind the effort. That should keep things interesting for the next several quarters, whether or not any of those first Nokia devices to hit the market have the name "Sea Ray."